Visual content has gained popularity among netizens, especially mobile users, as people prefer to browse visuals on their smartphone or tablet rather spend time reading lengthy articles. Moreover, it is much easier to browse visuals than plain text. The popularity of social networking sites also contribute to the emergence of visual content since it is easy to share. The major benefit of using visual content is that it allows you to communicate complex messages very quickly and easily and capture the attention of your audience within a short span of time. Industry experts predict that visual content will dominate in 2014, and therefore online marketers should take steps to exploit this trend with efficient visual content marketing strategies. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of visual marketing techniques.
Social Media Images
With social networking sites such as Facebook (revamp of Newsfeed, bigger images) Twitter (new profile design), Pinterest, Tumblr and Google Plus making efforts to provide users with better images, the importance of visual content is growing on the social scene. Early results of an ongoing Social Media Optimization Survey conducted by Software Advice and Adobe show that using images and photos is the most important tactic for content optimization on social sites. As a social marketer, you can utilize pictures to market your products or services in various ways:
- Uploading Photos or Images – Taking photos of your products and uploading them on your social networking page informs consumers about your latest product and its features. A picture can communicate more efficiently than detailed product information or customer ratings. You can also create images from photos and share them on social networks. Certain products require photos or images (for example, clothing, jewelry, shoes, automobiles). The image of the new Audi A3 posted on Facebook got a lot of likes and shares and shows what a good picture can do for you.
If you are providing services instead of products, you can upload the images of important events or create images that reflect your concepts or ideas to share across social networks.
- Visual Storytelling – You can use your photos or images to tell a memorable story of your brand, such as how a particular product or service helped a customer in a specific situation. Such stories can prove interesting for audiences and induce sharing across social networks. For example, when Ritz Carlton Hotel found a strayed stuffed animal giraffe on the hotel premises, they took its pictures using Instagram and posted a story of its vacation on Facebook, which helped a lot to popularize the efficiency of its customer service and its Loss Prevention Team who returned the toy to its rightful owner.
- Using Animated GIFs – Using animated GIFs instead of normal images on social network can drive the attention of your audience very quickly. Several social networking sites including Pinterest and Tumblr allow users to upload animated GIFs. This June, Twitter also announced support for animated GIFs on Twitterfeed. Animated GIFs serve the purpose of both image and video. Your audience to engage with the content quickly as in the case of an image and get a message from the video. For example, by animating the text for events and offers, you can easily capture the attention of your consumers. You can highlight your product or product features with an animated GIF like the Samsung Mobile’s animated GIF on Twitter featuring Ultra Power Saving Mode on Samsung Galaxy S5.
Infographics are simply visual representation of hard content in a linear format to help people extract important information very easily. Usually, different colors, fonts and pictures are used to segment the information and make it immensely readable and understandable. This type of visual content allows businesses to share their statistics in a more interesting manner. The main advantage of infographics is that it is possible to create information-rich content and convey it quickly and easily. It is therefore a strong content marketing tool. Here are some tips for designing good infographics.
- Avoid too large or data heavy infographics. Instead, provide only the most relevant information
- Use proportions to visualize data and keep as much redundant text data out of the spotlight as possible
- Pick up contrasting tones to differentiate data and make it less strenuous visually. Keep the text clear as well.
- Instead of confusing viewers with data gaps or hanging questions, tell a story of the information
- Proactively share the infographics on social networks
According to industry experts, video content will contribute 69% of all web traffic by 2017. Businesses can take advantage of this trend by creating their own shareable videos and uploading them on popular video sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and other social networking sites. You can create a promotional video or a video tour. Besides videos of your product, you can also upload videos of important events (such as the launch of a product). Videos are great for visual storytelling. A number of such videos are available in Google Glass explorer stories page. However, turning all content into a video is not the right strategy. If your message does not require visuals, retain that content as such instead of presenting it in video format. Though creating video content is inexpensive (can be recorded using a camera phone or a digital camera), make sure they don’t fall back on quality.
Businesses can benefit from video content by investing in YouTube advertising. Your YouTube ads will be placed at the start of YouTube videos and the users can skip that ad after 5 seconds. This can capture the attention of web users, though you should be careful about the placement of ads. If you are placing an ad on the YouTube sports channel and the ad is about jewelry, it won’t bring conversions.
Virtual tours allow prospective and current customers to have a 360Â° view of your premises at their convenience. This is the ideal marketing strategy for real estate business and hotels. Compared to traditional video tours, virtual tours allow users to go at a pace that suits them. The viewer can sit and watch your brand inside out at every angle and learn about the amazing facilities that you offer. The main benefits of a virtual tour are as follows:
- Since a virtual tour allows consumers to have detailed exposure of your property, it provides transparency, makes your brand trustworthy and creates a sense of value
- Virtual tours offer a great piece of visual content to represent your property or hotel and create a long-lasting impression
- A great visual treat can capture the attention of the viewers for a long time and increase customer retention
- Virtual tours can increase the hotel bookings
The superiority of the visual medium compared to other promotional content is that it allows viewers to take their own decisions without feeling any kind of pressure. However, it is very important to maintain a proper balance between visual and written content in your search engine marketing campaign. The best approach is to have a strategy that takes maximum advantage of both.